Passmore Edwards 200 Celebration

John Passmore Edwards - Chartist and philanthropist | Cornwall Guide24 March 2023 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Passmore Edwards, the Cornish philanthropist, and there are big plans afoot to celebrate the birth of this extraordinary Cornishman throughout the spring and summer of next year.

Lord Asquith said that Edwards had “done more than any single Englishman to help the people to equip and educate themselves for civic and social duty”. Putting aside describing him as an Englishman, is there anyone else to whom this might apply? It is appropriate that we celebrate this event in Cornwall, where he was born, and across the south of the country; from St Ives to Herne Bay in Kent, wherever his name appeared on one of the 70 public buildings he funded.

In 2011, more than 80 events took place to mark the centenary of Edwards’ death, and the plans are to do even better in 2023. But whereas 2011 was mainly about the history, 2023 will also involve the communities that benefited from his numerous bequests and will involve the arts and especially the younger generation. With the Newlyn Gallery in Cornwall and the Whitechapel and South London Galleries in London, two former London libraries now homes of thriving theatres, and several other of his buildings finding new uses as arts and community spaces, there is considerable potential to create a really memorable festival throughout the spring and summer of 2023.

You can read more about Passmore Edwards 200 here. There’s some background about Passmore Edwards himself, as well as plans for the upcoming celebration in 2023.

Dean Evans is the organiser of the ‘Passmore Edwards 200’ celebration, and he would like to see every town and village in Cornwall join in with what has the potential to be an exciting festival. Perhaps your WI would like to be part of it.

If your WI is interested in getting involved, please contact for more information.

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